Stage 1- Jelajah Malaysia – Putrajaya – Port Dickson, 176.5 Km

Paul Griffin returned to Malaysia last weekend after a brief break for Christmas in his home town of Tralee, Co. Kerry.

He was one of two Irishmen that are in the line up for the seven day event Jelajah Malaysia. David McCann from Belfast is his team mate on the Giant Asia Team and both have competed in the last number of of years in Le Tour de Langkawi which starts next month in Alo Setar.

Incidentally, similiar to last season, Paul started racing in January and finished up the week before Christmas (2007) in the Tour of Thailand.

Now he is back on the campaign trail where it began twelve months ago.

And, again he is showing that indeed with proper management of training and rest that he can compete at the higest level.

Yesterday was one of those days when the ‘Kingdom’ competitor was in the action after one third of the race stage of 176kms had been negoiated. Naturally with the exception of Team Matrix-Powertag from Japan all the possible conters were up front and dictating the pace. The group powered along at a rate of knots which brought their advantage up to over four minutes before the alarm bells rang in the peloton. Then a conserted effort by the Japanese team started making inroads into the lead group.

Advantage gained by a break is not easily surrendered and the lead of the 13 man group started to shed competitors in the last 30ks of racing. From, behind, the counter attacks were coming fast and furious but the leaders stuck to their task and Griffin was doing his level best to cojoled the leaders in sticking to the task that lay ahead. ‘I had visions of breaking the mould which would give us a cushion for the next six days, providing we kept the manoeuvre and the tempo at a hig rate of knots,’ said Paul.

The defining moment in the lead group came in the last 15kms of racing when a six of the original thirteen went ahead to contest the finish in Port Dickson alongside the Malacca Straits. (Not that they were in any mood to view the panoramic view of the blus sea.

In the end the advantage of having raced and competed with the Discovery Channel team last season bore all the hallmarks for Li Fuyu from china and representing the Marco polo Team based out of Hong Kong to show a clean pair of wheels to the quintet who lacked the acceleration that Fuyu showed in rgistering a stage win.

”It was a great day’s racing for me. Just back from home after the Christmas, it was important that I got back into the routine. Malaysia has always been good to me . last season I would reckon was one of the best for both Giant Asia and myself. Wiining the team prize in Le Tour de Langkawi was a bonus. As I said to you last year in Fraser Hill after Charteau from the the Credit Agricole stamped his authority, the season is only beginning,’ said Paul.

Stage 1- Jelajah Malaysia – Putrajaya – Port Dickson, 176.5 Km

1 Fuyu Li (China) Trek Marco Polo Team,4hrs.12mins.19secs;
2 Marcel Strauss (Switzerland) Team Stegcomputer – CKT – Cogeas, same time;
3 Jacob Nielsen (Denmark) Team Farso, st;
4 Paul Griffin (Ireland) Giant Asia Racing Team, st;
5 David McCann (Ireland) Giant Asia Team, @3.17.


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